How hurricanes get their names
Wed, 31 Aug 2011 22:05:19 GMT —
While many towns are still dealing with the effects of Irene, activity in the Atlantic continues. The latest storm, Katia, had all of us in the newsroom looking up how to pronounce it and wondering who came up with the name.
It's only five letters, relatively simple, but it's not easy to say. We asked several people how they thought Katia should be pronounced. Everyone got it wrong. According to the National Hurricane Service guide, Katia should be pronounced KAH-tyah.
Since 1953, the names have come from the National Hurricane Center. Today, the World Meteorological Organization maintains the list. The goal is to make the names short and distinctive so there's less room for error when forecasters refer to them.
"I think if they're trying to be politically correct that they would be good names even though they are difficult to pronounce," said Paige Harward.
Hurricanes were always given women's names until 1979. To be fair, they added men's names - and decided to alternate between them . There's some debate among the sexes on who packs a bigger punch.
"We're stronger than men for sure," said Corina Siova.
Leo Dobson disagrees, "I think most females would probably agree hurricanes are more like men right? Wild and crazy and just kind of coming at you."
For some storms, the name takes on a whole new meaning. For example, Hugo, Hazel, and of course Katrina have all been retired because of their destructive nature.
In a given year, if there's more than 24 named storms the names are taken from the greek alphabet. The last time that happened was in 2005.